Resilient Cultivators are generally low-income, rural, married women with limited education. They are likely to be farmers and are not primary household decision-makers. Most own phones and have mobile wallets – but these are mainly used to send and receive money. Still, the combination of their broad social network and their use of different financial tools, along with a skew towards saving and planning, gives them high confidence in managing emergencies and everyday expenses. They trust banks but only a third have accounts; they also trust people more than Kenyans in general, supporting their increased use of informal financial tools.
WHO ARE THEY?
“There are no times we keep our hands empty — we plant.”
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS (SES)
Resilient Cultivators are generally low-income, rural, married women that earn approximately half of their income through farming. They are quite likely to share financial decisions with others – though a proportion look to their spouses to make all of the decisions. They are young to middle-aged, and most have a primary education.
Resilient Cultivators have a broad social network to draw on during times of difficulty, though it is likely not through mobile channels — they talk to a moderate number of people each day on their phones. They draw on a mix of social and personal sources during an emergency, particularly support from others and savings. This helps them be quite confident in their ability to raise funds in an emergency, despite being lower income earners overall.
RESILIENCE: SOURCES OF MONEY IN AN EMERGENCY
WHAT DO THEY WANT?
Resilient Cultivators are strong savers, and this is reflected in their approach to a windfall – they would put most towards saving, and less towards investments (the reverse of the case for Kenya on average). Managing liquidity is likely important to them given their low SES, so they would be inclined to keep money from a windfall easily accessible. However they may lack the discipline to actively save money and thus keep only a small proportion of their savings in cash. Their planning approach is reflected the allocation of 10% of a windfall for future expenses. They do not prioritize immediate investment in their community.
HOW DO THEY MANAGE MONEY?
“I have something I have [built] here.
What are we going to do with it?”
Financial Behavior Overview
Resilient Cultivators have robust financial behavior across all measures, and many may succeed at maintaining financial health despite the volatility of farming. They score above average on every measure and are particularly strong at cultivating receivables, which may help them raise critical capital to finance their farming in the face of shortfalls. The vast majority of Resilient Cultivators maintain mobile money accounts, which they primarily use for sending and receiving money. Fewer participate in informal financial channels, but those that do make more frequent use of them for saving—as do the third of the segment who hold accounts with formal financial institutions. This segment is notably less likely to find financial services to be complex than is the average Kenyans—perhaps a contributing factor to their higher access to financial tools.
The vast majority of Resilient Cultivators have mobile money accounts but use them for simple tasks like sending and receiving money. Fewer participate in informal financial channels, but those that do more frequently use of them for saving — as does a third of the segment who have accounts with formal financial institutions. They find financial services notably less complex than average for Kenyans, despite their lower incomes – perhaps helping to drive their higher levels of access.
Resilient Cultivators are strong savers, and this is reflected in their approach to a windfall — they would put the majority towards saving with less towards investments (the reverse is the case for most Kenyans on average). Managing liquidity is likely important to them given their low SES, so they would be inclined to keep money from a windfall easily accessible. However they may lack the discipline to actively save money and thus keep only a small proportion of their savings in cash. Their planning approach is reflected the allocation of 10% of a windfall for future expenses. They do not prioritize immediate investment in their community.
HOW WINDFALL IS PRIORITIZED
HAS A PLAN TO MANAGE EXPENSES
Despite their lower income, Resilient Cultivators are strong planners — even among Kenyans who see themselves strong planners overall. This tendency likely plays a role in them being involved in household decision-making and managing expenses – even if they are generally not the sole decision-maker.
Shaping Income and Expenses
Resilient Cultivators do not benefit from a stable income. Their daily income can be particularly difficult to predict, suggesting they work to smooth their weekly income overall. They have confidence in their ability to pay their household bills, despite facing similar struggles with bills and facing similar emergencies to Kenyans as a whole. Their strong planning likely increases their resilience.
Resilient Cultivators are regular savers, doing so on a monthly or weekly basis. Mobile wallets represent their most-used channel, but at levels lower than their access might suggest. Meanwhile their use of groups and friends to save is very strong, and a majority use family to save with as well. Their use of formal financial tools is much lower.
Resilient Cultivators cultivate receivables adeptly –the strongest of any Kenyan segment despite their lower income. Confident in their ability to deal with emergencies and gather support from their social networks when sick, they borrow with care as part of their broader planning approach to their finances. They are highly likely to borrow but do so less frequently overall. Family is their most important channel for borrowing but also more likely to be used infrequently. Groups, friends and mobile money are important sources that are likely to be used more frequently. They are less likely to borrow from formal financial institutions.
SOURCES OF BORROWING
ACCESS TO SMARTPHONES
Resilient Cultivators are not strong users of technology, with low smartphone ownership and limited usage rates. Only a small proportion use social media or visit websites.
HOW DO THEY THINK?
"I want to borrow [but can’t access the credit right now.]
The businesses would grow and earn money. I keep my grocery
for myself, even though my husband says that it won’t work."
Resilient Cultivators are less likely to believe that their success is controlled by their own actions, and mostly believe that a person’s capacity is inherent rather than developed over time. They are more likely to look positively towards the future than not, and have self-esteem that, while low, is higher than average for Kenya – likely driven by their tendency to blame external factors for the challenges they face in their lives.
Conscientiousness and Openness
They are conscientious but not especially open, with their low incomes perhaps making them more hesitant to try new things. Their strong planning mindset is likely linked to them being less impulsive.
Attitude Towards Savings
They are moderately deliberate savers, likely saving both for specific purposes and as a safety net. They are split both on whether they make enough money to save, and the safety of their savings — but take moderate positions on both questions.
ATTITUDE TOWARDS SAVINGS
COMFORT WITH DEBT
Attitude Towards Debt
They are wary borrowers, perhaps because of their higher-than-average dependability — they only taking on debt they plan to repay. They have a somewhat high debt orientation, reflecting their status as the most likely segment to borrow.
Trust in People
Resilient Cultivators are among the most trusting segment in Kenya, something that supports their use of social financial tools to manage their finances. This trust is hard-won — they tend to distrust strangers quite strongly, even while having greater trust in a community they are heavily invested in. They see their community as very equal too — which may make trusting insiders within that community easier. They believe their community would invest in their future but have limited trust in lending into their community.
TRUST IN PEOPLE
TRUST IN BANKS
Trust in Institutions
Resilient Cultivators trust banks to a high degree, even while they may feel that their products are less suitable for their lives — resulting in low access levels, but perhaps reflecting the high savings usage by those who do have accounts. Their belief in respect for authority is rather low, maybe linked to their strong view of equality within their community.
DESIGN PRINCIPLES & OPPORTUNITIES
How might we digitize existing financial tools
and enable Resilient Cultivators to continue to remain connected to the community while using formal products?
"There are no times we keep
our hands empty – we plant."
Marion is a 49 year-old mother of two whose family generates its income from farming fruits and vegetables, growing and harvesting tea, 2 dairy cows, 2 chickens, and several goats, as well as from Marion’s small businesses of 4 years selling groceries and clothing from a stall she rents monthly in the center of her small town outside Limuru. Marion has one daughter in primary school and another who just graduated university.
USER INSIGHTS & OPPORTUNITIES
Start with the Existing Assets
Marion worked her small farm for many years while her husband struggled to find good, consistent work in their area or in Nairobi. Eventually she grew frustrated with their lack of household progress and decided to see what she could make of the small chamba she had. She expanded and diversified her crops, open to the counsel and suggestions of the regional agricultural officer, and began selling them. She then opened a small grocery in the village to sell out of, rented an adjacent space to the grocery for a café, and followed by periodically buying second-hand clothing in the city to bring back to her village for sale.
Instead of escaping farming, Marion grew it into a more stable economic base, and then converted the small surplus into modest, adjacent opportunities. Her first principle isn’t to ‘trade up,’ but rather to find ways to maximize untapped potential in what she already has before advancing.
Independence is Redundancy
Marion draws a hard line between her husband’s income and her own. She works on their chamba and her grocery/café, and he works the small tea plantation he inherited from his mother. She is as highly structured in how she treats even shared knowledge of their economic and financial lives as she is regarding what crops she chooses to plant and rotate, and why. She doesn’t know how much money her husband’s tea plantation makes, and she refuses to discuss it with him. The clear divide protects her own independence too. They give each other money when requested and generally divide up household expenses, but otherwise keep a mindful distance.
This arrangement seems to provide greater peace of mind for the household. By choosing not to align activity too closely, their two lives effectively function as two shots on goal at any given time for the good of the household, mitigating losses and compounding coincidences of wins.